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Wednesday Blogging: These are a few of my favorite things, book edition.

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I hate, loathe, and despise telling people what my favorite things are, but I’ve made a commitment to this Wednesday blogging thing and damnit, I’m going to keep it.

The reason I hate telling people about my favorite things is that I’m inconsistent and my “favorites” often change. There are a few that never change:

Les Miserables, Victor Hugo. I only read this book because when I was twelve, I saw the musical. I wanted to read the book, so I went to the library and got this woefully abridged version– and when I say “woefully abridged,” I mean the whole beginning of the book with Bishop Myriel meeting the revolutionary was gone, the passage about Waterloo, so much of it was missing. One of my teachers saw me reading this totally useless version and said, “You know, there’s a better translation.” In the past twenty years, I’ve read Les Miserables from cover to cover fourteen times, and it gets better every time.

Moby-Dick, Herman Melville. I’ve liked this book since high school, but I wasn’t as in love with it as I am now until my honeymoon. My husband and I went to the Berkshires for our honeymoon, and while we were there we visited Arrowhead and a few other sites Herman Melville had frequented with his “friend” Nathaniel Hawthorne. I reread Moby-Dick and Billy Budd and researched more about Melville’s personal life, at which point I was like, “Wow, this dude was totally gay, and he was expressing it in his work.” It gave his writing, those two pieces in particular, a completely different depth, and I’ve become a little obsessed with Melville and Hawthorne. I guess you could say I ship them. Since this huge revelation wherein I figured out what literally millions of people had already picked up on before me, I’ve read Moby-Dick several times, but I do skip over some of the whale biology.

The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice Do I really need to give an explanation for this one? It’s Lestat. It’s Lestat. While I agree with critics who say the series began to decline with The Tale of The Body Thief, I am in this for the long haul. Because Lestat.

Those are three favorites that will never change, unless I get some kind of personality changing injury in the future. But I’ve got this habit of saying, “This is my favorite [blank],” about stuff that a few years later I’m “meh” about. Or, I look back on it fondly, but I’m not as in love with it as I once was. Examples of these books are:

The Vampire Diaries series, L.J. Smith Can I just say right off how fucking shitty it is that they kicked L.J. off the franchise that she’d made popular the second it got a frickin’ TV show? Anyway, I’ve grown and changed from the tween who devoured these books, but I still look back and remember the good times we had. They really influenced my own writing, too, so I’ll always like them.

New Moon, Stephenie Meyer Okay, I know what you’re going to say, but I don’t care. I loved the Twilight series when it came out, then I hated it after Breaking Dawn, then I read 50 Shades of Grey and I love it again because Edward is cast in a way better light when compared to Christian Grey. But New Moon was the best book of the entire series. I lived Bella’s breakup. I laid on my couch and cried when they broke up. I will always love this book out of a sense of nostalgia, even though in hindsight they’re all pretty silly.

And then there are recent favorites I worry about including and somehow slighting or hurting the feelings of the other books on the list. Which is silly, but I just imagine Jean Valjean going, “What do you mean this book is your favorite? Don’t you love me anymore?” and my heart crumples into a thousand pieces. But these are what I like to call my current favorites, since it doesn’t require a commitment that might hurt Jean Valjean’s feelings:

A Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin I am one hundred percent obsessed with this series. I’ve mentioned before that I know the geography of Westeros better than the geography of my own country, and I feel no shame about that. Granted, it’s taken me over a year to finish A Dance with Dragons, but that’s not a reflection on the writing, it’s because I got to page 913 and threw the fucking thing against the wall in a blind, wailing rage.

Lux series, Jennifer L. Armentrout I am always the last person to catch on to any freaking trend, I swear. I just recently gave the first book in this series a try, and then I got sucked in. It’s everything I loved about Twilight with nothing I disliked about Twilight. The heroine, Katy, has an actual personality. The hot guy has a legitimate reason he needs to protect her, rather than just, “You’re a weak human, let me help you, weak human.” Plus, it’s a paranormal YA that isn’t about your traditional monster. I’m shotgunning this series.

The thing that I really hate about these favorites lists is, I have too many favorites, I guess. I’m looking at my keeper shelves right now and going, “But what about All The Sweet Tomorrows by Bertrice Small? What about Into The Forest by Jean Heglund? What about Ian McEwan’s Atonement or Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes? And how could I possibly leave Stephen King off the list?”

Well, that last question is pretty easy to answer. Stephen King is in his own class. If we do a Wednesday Blogging topic about our favorite Stephen King books, I’ll be ready to go.

Want to fill yourselves with other Wednesday Blogger favorites? Check them out:

Gwendolyn Cease • Bronwyn Green • Jessica Jarman • Kris Norris • Kellie St. James
Tessa Grant

56 Comments

  1. I am not at home with access to my copy of A Dance with Dragons and now I have to wonder all freaking day what happens on page 913!!!!

    Damn you, Jenny. DAMN YOU!!!

    May 7, 2014
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    • And also, though I only read it once because I fear a second reading will make me suicidal, Les Miserables is one of my absolute all-time favorite books.

      May 7, 2014
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    • Annie
      Annie

      I definitely googled “A Dance with Dragons, page 913” and it very easily answered it for me. Even just finding out which chapter it was made me remember…
      And now I have a sad.

      May 7, 2014
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Let me know when you find it.

      May 7, 2014
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  2. Lieke
    Lieke

    I LOVE Les Miserables. It’s so epic and tragic and awesome. I think that’s the book I’ve reread the most and I reread books a lot.

    Also, A Song of Ice and Fire is great, but so much depends on whose point of view chapter you read. I think Davos is boring, though he gets better the further you get along and I couldn’t care less about all the Greyjoy nonsense. I’m sure that’ll all pay off in the end, but so far it’s dull. Personally, I always look ahead for Arya chapters to keep me going (and also to check if she’s still alive).

    May 7, 2014
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I’m in the, “I don’t give a shit about Bran” camp with the novels. If I wanted to read that much walking, I’d reread The Return of The King, thanks.

      May 7, 2014
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    • Ren
      Ren

      I skipped the Greyjoy crap once all the ‘uncles’ came into play, and I skipped all of Davos parts. I’m up to date with the series and I’ve still been able to understand everything without the content of those chapters…

      GRRM is a good writer but crikey could he do with an edit.

      May 9, 2014
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      • You didn’t need those chapters for the show because it hasn’t gotten to them yet.

        I haven’t yet read a word of ASOIAF I didn’t like. I know people have their criticisms, but I personally wish the books were longer. This is one of those stories I wish would never end.

        May 9, 2014
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        • Lieke
          Lieke

          I kind of agree with you and Ren. (Can I do that? Isn’t this much agreement against internet policy or something? I should probably say something racist pretty soon to balance shit out)

          There’s a lot of nothing happening for long, long stretches. I don’t mind so much when we’re hanging out with Jaime and Brienne, because I like them and while nothing seems to be happening they’re actually slowly starting to respect each other. Plus, there’s the whole ‘look what this stupid war is doing to the not-rich people’ aspect in their sections that (while depressing) I find quite interesting. In the Davos and Greyjoy bits, however, really nothing is happening . It’s like the gathering of the Ents in The Two Towers. This is all nice insight into how shit works, but it isn’t furthering the plot in any way whatsoever and sometimes I wish GRRM would get on with the story.

          On the other hand, yeah, I wish the books were longer. I just wish there was more of the good, meaty mix of character and plot and backstory stuff than what seems like endless stalling or moving pieces into place. And with every book that particular feeling seems to intensify, which is a shame.

          May 10, 2014
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          • See, I’m loving the “moving pieces into place” stuff. I feel like the war and politics and everything is a “look over here” tactic while the really important stuff is happening elsewhere. No one in Westeros is concerned about Dany (most don’t even believe she has dragons). Everyone but Stanis (thanks to Davos) is ignoring what’s happening at the Wall, where some serious shit is going down that threatens everyone. And then there are all the new characters who show up in A Dance with Dragons and Dorne behaving like it’s a Lannister ally when really the Martells are scheming against them. And it sure looks like something serious is going to go down with Rickon.

            Is it fighting and action and all of that? No. But it’s still holding my attention. I actually like 4 and 5 better than 1, 2 and 3. My concern, though, is that I have believed all along that GRRM isn’t putting anything into the books that isn’t important to the overall story. I’m hoping that everything is going to come full-circle. But then the show is leaving things out and making fundamental changes and that makes me think he’s going to pull a Lost on us and that will just piss me off.

            If he does that, I swear I will have a bonfire and burn all the books! lol

            May 10, 2014
  3. I have favorites because of nostalgia, too. And I will probably never reread them because I fear they’d be ruined.

    I like the idea of a Stephen King centric post. Guess I’d better get on that list you gave me. 😀

    May 7, 2014
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      YES! I can’t BELIEVE you’ve never read him!

      May 7, 2014
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  4. I’ve got to put the “Outlander” series at the top of my favorites list. The series is coming out on Starz this summer, woo!

    May 7, 2014
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I love Outlander so much! At least, the first four. I got to book five and petered out when it seemed like the first five hundred pages would be all on one day.

      May 7, 2014
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  5. Courtney
    Courtney

    Uhhhhh PLEASE do a post all about your fave SK books.

    May 7, 2014
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Maybe sometime I will!

      May 7, 2014
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  6. I might have to give Moby Dick another try. I got bogged down in the whale biology and just couldn’t move on. My OCD refused to allow me to skip it, you see.

    As for the Stephen King blog, count me in.

    May 7, 2014
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Yeah, sometime if you want to reread it I can send you my page numbers for abridging it.

      May 7, 2014
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      • Lieke
        Lieke

        I want those page numbers too. Moby Dick has been standing in my bookcase unread for too long, because whale biology does nothing for me.

        May 8, 2014
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  7. Ilex
    Ilex

    No need to apologize for loving New Moon! I’ve finally just read these books this year, and while I was disappointed with the ending of NM (boo for Edward coming back, boo!), I really enjoyed Bella’s friendship with Jacob.

    Too bad I then read Eclipse and ended up hating every single character in the series forever. I’m having a hard time convincing myself to read Breaking Dawn after that.

    May 7, 2014
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    • DancedAllNight
      DancedAllNight

      Nah, read Breaking Dawn. There’s a whole part that’s in Jacob’s POV and it’s worth it. Plus, there’s lots of Leah and Seth in that book. The book will give you a rage headache at times though.

      May 7, 2014
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I didn’t hate everyone until we got to Breaking Dawn, and then I was like, ready to flip a fucking table.

      May 7, 2014
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  8. Andrea
    Andrea

    Kushiel’s Dart doesn’t make the list? I would have thought sex-positive medieval fantasy kink was right up your alley!

    May 7, 2014
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I love that series, but like I was saying in the post, I have a lot of favorites and I couldn’t share them all. I have treasured signed copies of those books. 😀

      May 7, 2014
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  9. Pansy Petal
    Pansy Petal

    Enjoyed your list. Thank you for sharing it.

    May 7, 2014
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Glad you liked it!

      May 7, 2014
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  10. Dude… most of my list was Stephen King. At the end of the day, he is my go-to author. I just stand in awe of the man. So I’m all in with the day of Stephen King…

    May 7, 2014
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Try to convince Bronwyn to read him. She never has. I told her to start with Carrie.

      May 7, 2014
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      • rebecca
        rebecca

        Don’t forget Firestarter!

        May 8, 2014
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      • Serenity
        Serenity

        Misery, then she can watch Kathy Bates when she finishes the book.

        May 9, 2014
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    • Lieke
      Lieke

      Count me in too. I remember being all dismissive about Pet Sematary before reading it. ‘What’s this about? Like pets coming back to life? Zombie pets? How is that scary?’ Well…

      Hearts of Atlantis is probably my favourite Stephen King book. I also love The Dead Zone, Needful Things and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. Just great stuff.

      May 8, 2014
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  11. Oooohhhh. That part. There are spoilers on Wikipedia about that particular character’s fate if you want to know …

    May 7, 2014
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    • Hmmmm … what I read before isn’t there anymore. Very interesting.

      May 7, 2014
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I have a theory, since it was in his POV (and certain things happen to people who die in their own POV).

      May 7, 2014
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  12. I know what the popular theory is about that. I feel like it won’t go that way, but we’ll see. I don’t think he dies, though. I think he’s one of the characters who will actually make it to the end. But of course guessing in this story is kind of worthless. lol

    Goodreads says WoW is being published next year, so *fingers crossed*. The way the show is going, though, it will all be on TV before we see the book.

    May 7, 2014
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  13. Gwen Cease
    Gwen Cease

    I have actually read Stephen King, which is a big deal since I do not like scary. But I read Carrie and it was good. I remember when I was a kid and my Mom read Salem’s Lot, she read faster to get one of the character’s through the forest or something. S he totally made me laugh.

    May 7, 2014
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    • I read The Shining when I was 17, pregnant and pretty much alone in a very, very old house for the weekend. My mom was there, but she was laid up with a migraine. I read a lot of it in a wood-floored bathroom sitting in a claw-footed tub. I didn’t sleep for two weeks and had nightmares every night.

      The same thing happened every time I watched a movie based on any of his books (except the Jack Nicholson version of The Shining because it just wasn’t right). So therefore, I refuse to ever read King again. He’s a great writer, but I like sleeping.

      May 7, 2014
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  14. We should totally do a Stephen King post – After Bron gets with the program 😉

    I read Moby Dick once. Didn’t like it. However, I may give it another read as I was a punk ass adolescent at the time who didn’t appreciate anything worthwhile.

    May 7, 2014
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  15. Jessica
    Jessica

    I’m going to jump on board the “do a Stephen King post” bandwagon. Personally “The Stand” is my favorite of his full-length novels, followed by “Full Dark, No Stars” for his short story collections.

    May 7, 2014
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  16. Alison
    Alison

    I loved Les Mis as a teenager. Trying to read it again as an adult, I was surprised at how very melodramatic the writing is. I still love the characters and the story but I find it hard to get past the prose now that I’m a grown up. Which sounds snobby, I realize but I really don’t mean it like that. I guess my preferences have just changed.

    My favourite Stephen King novel is It. I really like a lot of his short stories, too. He is the master of the little story that worms its way into your consciousness.

    May 7, 2014
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  17. Jessica
    Jessica

    Ahh, Into the Forest! I randomly stumbled upon that book years ago and have read it multiple times, but it felt like I was the only one who knew about it! It’s so good.

    May 7, 2014
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  18. Donna
    Donna

    The Vampire Lestat – yes! That’s also in my top 3 favourite books of all time.

    I read the Twilight series (saga?) after the shite that was 50SOG came out, and loved it. After Douche McDouche Christian, Edward was larger-than-life amazing (definitely not perfect though). I re-read the series for utter escapism whenever adult life/motherhood gets too hard.

    Pleasepleaseplease do a Stephen King special. I read IT and Misery when I was 15 and was blown away by the intricacy of his storytelling.

    May 8, 2014
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  19. Ange
    Ange

    Oh I do love some classic King. Misery is always my number one, I prefer the psychological horrors rather than supernatural ones generally. Otherwise I’m woefully out of the loop on this list, I spent my later teen/early adult years mired in the Collen McCullough Masters of Rome series and have never really recovered. Worth it!

    May 8, 2014
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  20. Wow this is cool. I didn’t know about Melville and Hawthorne. Must definitely look this up.
    I haven’t read Les Misérables yet, but I think there’s a reason so-called classics stay with us. For me that would be The Three Musketeers.

    May 8, 2014
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  21. Lindsay
    Lindsay

    I am so confused… whale biology is the best part!

    May 8, 2014
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  22. Lindsay
    Lindsay

    In terms of the George R.R. Martin series, I have such a love-hate relationship. There are so many things I love about it, but also so so many problems. I tend to like the tv series more, because they seem to want to fix a lot of the issues I have with the books (Cersei’s characterization?? Tyrion’s “betrayal?” – though I guess on that last one we’ll have to see how this season ends).

    I could only get through about 100 pages of the last book because all of the characters I love (except Dany) are in the fourth book, and getting through the last one was becoming so tedious because I wanted to skip all the chapters to get to Dany, and that was becoming problematic.

    Also I live in constant fear for Sansa. George said something “controversial” is going to happen to her in the next book. I know most of the series’ fans are not on team Sansa, but I love her, and I am just so so worried about what this “controversial” thing will be.

    May 8, 2014
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    • ElBandito
      ElBandito

      You’re not alone there. Everyone seems to forget what it’s like to be so young and naive–except in Sansa’s case she’s in a war-torn country and most of all a literal hostage.

      I eat up GRRM’s writing, but there’s a lot of stuff like off-the-wall violence on women that’s making me want to give up and stop reading. I’m also waiting for the mass-rebellions that should be happening, like during the 100 years war ( I know, but you can’t borrow events from St. Bartholemew’s Massacre and then claim that you can’t show peasants going medieval on their tormenter’s asses because that’s ‘too realistic’ for a fantasy story).

      May 8, 2014
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      • I’m just enjoying the ride with these books.

        I had heard all the anti-Sansa stuff when I started with this series and I asked a friend what that was all about and she told me to keep reading. I still never got it. She was 11 years old when the books started and yes, she was naive and young and care-free. But the second Joffrey chopped off her father’s head, she learned harsh reality. I mean, she’s alone, a child and being beaten regularly. her family is dead or in danger. She doesn’t know if her sister is alive …

        My friend said something about Sansa never even thinking about Arya, but then I kept reading and in one of Sansa’s POV chapters, she mentioned Arya, wonders if she’s OK but assumes she’s probably dead.

        I think GRRM did an excellent job writing Sansa — shocking for an old man who never was an 11-year–old girl! My two favorite characters are Sam and The Hound, but I certainly don’t dislike Sansa.

        May 8, 2014
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        • Lindsay
          Lindsay

          Also when you think about it, before the shit hit the fan, ie, Ned’s beheading, Sansa was the perfect daughter. She was raised being told “this is how a proper lady acts,” and she took it to heart, she did what she believed was being a “good girl,” so that she could have her happy ending, and if Joffrey wasn’t such a shit face, she probably would have done just that.

          I am so sick of people saying “Sansa should be more like Arya, then she wouldn’t be in so much trouble all the time.” I am sorry, but Arya is unbelievably favored by the narrative. If things played out in a more natural way, Arya would have probably been dead about 20 times by now. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Arya and her story, but she is in no way a “better survivor” than Sansa. Sansa used her courtesy and etiquette as a shield and managed to survive all of Joffrey’s crazy (not to mention Cersei’s) for three books. Also I love how people judge Sansa for not thinking about Arya, but when has Arya ever thought about Sansa? I think people just look for excuses to not like Sansa. They’re both a little busy trying to not die, I think they’re both excused.

          And that’s my rant for the day.

          May 8, 2014
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          • I can’t remember, but I do think Arya thinks about Sansa, as well. They’e both trying to survive in their own ways.

            And people seem to forget that Arya ONLY got away because of Serio. He recognized the danger and he protected and warned her. If not for him, she would also have been locked up in a tower and prevented from escaping and she’d probably be dead now because she wouldn’t have played the diplomat the way Sansa has.

            Arya makes plenty of her own mistakes, but she gets lucky a LOT. She keeps running into people who save her rear end. But, again, she’s a kid. I don’t blame her or get angry by what she chooses to do because she doesn’t know any better.

            May 8, 2014
          • Lindsay
            Lindsay

            Oh no, I don’t get mad at Arya at all. She’s absolutely one of my favorite characters. I just get frustrated when people try to hold Arya and Sansa to the same standard and try to make Arya out to be “better.”

            May 8, 2014
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I swear to god, if that man hurts Sansa.

      And by that man, I mean both George R.R. Martin AND Pedo Baelish.

      May 8, 2014
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    • Lieke
      Lieke

      Oh, I feel for Sansa. Sure at first she’s annoyingly naive, but she’s a kid. And she does learn the hard way.

      I like Arya better, because Arya in a way is a more active character. She makes stuff happen (often with a lot of help from others). Sansa survives because she is able to remain passive; something which Arya would NOT be capable of doing. In the environment which Sansa has landed in, with Cersei and Joffrey and the political backstabbing going on, it’s much safer to be quiet and obedient. Her passivity renders her almost invisible.

      I always feel that Arya and Sansa represent two sides of Cat. Cat knows when to stand back and be diplomatic, but she also knows when to stand up and fight. The trouble is that Sansa basically only knows how to be diplomatic and Arya only knows how to fight.

      What I do like better about Sansa is that despite everything that happens to her, she manages to hold on to a sort of sweetness. Arya loses that pretty early on. I mean, I love Arya, but she’s REVENGE-girl all the way. There’s no space for mercy in her worldview.

      May 8, 2014
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      • Lindsay
        Lindsay

        That’s interesting with the idea of Cat, I never thought about it, but it sounds dead on.

        May 8, 2014
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  23. Jon
    Jon

    Considering the comments on Buffy and 50 Shades I would be fascinated to read a full Troutnation analysis of Twilight. I have heard much about it but have yet to make the effort to read it.

    May 8, 2014
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